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Deepika, Kareena Case Draws Focus On Equal Pay For Female Stars

Top star Deepika Padukone lost a role in Sanjay Leela Bansali’s Baiju Bawra as she demanded more remuneration than Ranveer Singh. And Deepika is not the first heroine to do so. Kareena Kapoor Khan demanded Rs 12 crore to play the lead role in Alaukik Desai’s film Sita. Earlier, her close friend Karan Johar replaced her with Preity Zinta in Kal Ho Naa Ho for demanding more remuneration. A few years back Aishwarya Rai Bachchan lost an important role opposite Aamir Khan in Mangal Pandey because she demanded Rs 1 crore. Effectively, both Kareena and Deepika have lost opportunity to play iconic roles for asking what they deserve. This brings us back to the burning question of pay disparity in Bollywood. The general thinking in Bollywood is heroes (read men) have box office draw and female stars don’t have that kind of pull. A top producer clarifies, “Pay cheques are decided on the basis of how much business he or she rakes in. It is not based on the gender.” Sridevi and Madhuri Dixit got higher remuneration because audience went to the theatre to watch their performances. And of course, one heroine who has managed to single-handedly become a big hit is Kangana Ranaut. With Queen she proved it.  She has made it clear that she prefers not to work with the Khans because “she would get over shadowed”.